Who would have thought by week 4 of the college football season California would be going to Arizona undefeated? California, a team who was at the bottom of the PAC-12 conference last season has come out like gangbusters at the start of the 2014 season. They had a surprising victory against Northwestern, were no one gave them that much of a chance of winning week 1 , and then blowing out Sacramento State week 2 55-14. They are averaging close to 500 yards of offense in their two games. Sophomore QB Jared Goff is showing that he has a good grasp of the offense and maintaining poise, which will be much needed this weekend against 3-0 Arizona, who will tremendous amount of pressure to try and rush Goff in trying to throw off his timing with his receivers. The offensive line of California will have to play great to give Goff that time. Arizona will probably throw a lot of zone blitzes early at Goff to but put pressure on him and confuse him.
Can California’s defense stop or contain the Wildcats rushing attack? Against Northwestern and Sacramento State; they allowed 108 and 118 respectively against the two teams. Arizona will attack California on the perimeter with a lot of bubble/receiver screens and zone reads t the outside. QB Amu Solomon is a talent dual threat that California’s D-Ends will have to keep inside the pocket. With that since Solomon can move around and extend the play that puts a lot of dependency on the corners Cedric Dozier and Darrius Allensworth to stay with the Wildcats receivers and tackle in the open field. If California allows RB Nick Wilson to rush over 100 yards and Solomon passing for 200 and rushing close to 100 himself, they will not have a chance.
Kyle Whittingham and Utah may be an interesting team to look out for this weekend going to the “Big House” against Michigan. After an embarrassing loss to Notre Dame, Michigan was able to bounce back last week against Miami (OH). QB Travis Wilson will be looking to take advantage of the Michigan secondary like Notre Dame did. Of course, Travis Wilson isn’t Everett Golson, but he has the weapons to put up the same type of numbers. Utah is averaging over 300 yards in passing and close to 250 yards rushing. If the Utes O-Line can control the line of scrimmage and exploit Michigan’s run defense; they will try to balance their attack. Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke isn’t looking to relive the same embarrassment his team experience in South Bend. Devin Gardner has to play a smart mistake free game or the Utes will make Michigan pay on defense.
The only advantage Washington Stat has of winning against Oregon this weekend is the fact they are playing in Pullman. But just ask Rutgers how that went over? The Cougars have a devil of a time stop quick up tempo spread offense that are balance with the rushing and passing attack like Oregon. It doesn’t help the Cougars chances that Oregon has an experiences dual threat Heisman Candidate at quarterback. Marcus Mariota will pick apart a Washington State defense that is rank towards the bottom of conference in allowing an average of 394 yards per game over the first three games of the season. The Ducks will get that much in the first half. The emergence of Devin Allen as a deep threat for Mariota will open up more opportunities for wide receiver screens. The combination of Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner in the run game with the threat of Mariota, Oregon will run through and around the Cougar defense which will open up the threat of the long ball for the Ducks.
All the pressure is on the shoulders of Connor Halliday to 1) be mistake free and consistent; and 2) being able to keep up with Oregon on the scoreboard. Mike Leech isn’t known for holding the ball to slow down the opposition. The Washington State offensive line will have to hold up well and protect Halliday from Oregon’s front seven, who will blitz Connor Halliday until his receivers can beat Oregon’s secondary. If Washington State is going to pull off the upset this game will be very high scoring, with the total yards of offense between the two teams well over a thousand yards, otherwise Oregon will win In a rout.